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Microsoft’s IoT in Action Dives Deep into Transformation

Microsoft is showing the partner ecosystem it is all-in with IoT and aims to accelerate their time to value, according to the firm’s Rodney Clark (pictured). By Colleen Frye with Michael Siggins

Microsoft’s IoT in Action event series, held yesterday at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California, brought together customers and the partner ecosystem to discuss, collaborate, and strategize on all things IoT. An event highlight was the “matchmaking sessions” offering an opportunity for businesses to form potential partnerships to bring an IoT solution to market in a “speed dating” framework.

The second of eight events planned over the next few months in major cities around the world, IoT in Action aims to provide insights into the latest topics around IoT business transformation, IoT security, the intelligent edge, IoT cognitive services, hybrid cloud, and leveraging IoT solution accelerators to build scalable repeatable solutions.

Microsoft, which recently announced a $5 billion IoT investment, says the event is intended to help the partner ecosystem leverage this investment and identify new IoT growth opportunities.

Nick Parker (pictured below), Microsoft corporate vice president, consumer and device sales, and Rodney Clark, vice present of IoT sales, opened the day, talking about how Microsoft is enabling partners across the IoT value chain to design, build, and scale repeatable IoT solutions from edge to cloud.

With IoT, Parker said, the company is following the same business model it uses to empower partners. “We’ve enjoyed incredible decades of success and growth by enabling our partners to deliver unique customers solutions and experiences,” he said. “This is exactly the same business model for us: Build those foundational platform elements to enable you to do what you do best.”

IoT does require a unique approach in some respects, Clark acknowledged. “It takes a different way of thinking and a different way of addressing the opportunity for us to capitalize on this thing that we call IoT,” he told the audience. For one, the sales cycle is longer, and Microsoft wants to help partners speed time to market and value. “We know that engaging in an IoT solution in this scenario is a long-lead engagement process and what we’ve tried to do is to help actually accelerate your time to value.”

Clark added, “Our aim and focus at Microsoft in IoT is accelerating this time to value through innovation through transformation and ultimately into profitability.”

After the executive keynote, attendees heard presentations on intelligent edge and intelligent cloud, addressing the challenges of IoT security with Azure Sphere, and building intelligent edge solutions with Microsoft IoT and other technology programs.

The presentation on “The 4 Steps of Digital Transformation” walked through how to develop profitable, sustainable, and scalable business models in a variety of partnership and commercial scenarios. Andrew Smith, Microsoft senior director, strategy and operations, IoT device experience, and guest Rob Moyer, vice president, cloud services, mobility, and IoT at SYNNEX Corp., also talked about how partners can save money for themselves and their customers, and how to monetize new opportunities.

In the afternoon, attendees could choose sessions from three tracks: Transforming Your Business, Building Your Intelligent Edge, and Azure IoT Central. Attendees also had the opportunity to browse the sponsor partner solution showcase.

In the Matchmaking with a Solution Architecture Workshop, facilitated by members of the IoT Partner Advisory Council, attendees had the chance to seek collaboration opportunities to create new IoT solutions for healthcare, retail, smart infrastructure, or manufacturing.

Next city in the IoT in Action series is Taipei on December 12 and 13.

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